posted on December 9, 2020 by Abigail Owen

Using Reality to Create Family in Fiction

By Abigail Owen

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One of my favorite things to do when writing is to take small moments—touching, funny, together moments—from my own life and use them to give my characters the same real feel. I find this particularly helpful when writing family scenes.

In The Protector, the heroine, Lyndi is a dragon shifter who has created a home for young orphaned dragons, and these orphans are family with each other and with her. To give them a funny, endearing moment together, I took a hilarious conversation I’d had with my son when he went through a sex education chapter in his 6th grade science class—one where he learned about different kinds of sex (gosh they learn young these days).

I loved recreating that moment both for Lyndi and her boys, but also adding an eavesdropper. Levi is downstairs fixing the kitchen sink for them. He can’t help but listen in with the enhanced hearing all dragon shifters have…

“That’s what the teacher told you?” Lyndi asked slowly.

William’s snigger was followed by silence that no doubt included glaring from the younger boy.

“Wait, there’s more?” Elijah must’ve caught the hesitation in her voice.

“Well, the reason you’re being taught this in school at your age is because, other than the…errr…manual version, humans can get STIs from all methods. Dragon shifters are safe because of our advanced healing as far as that goes…but we’ve talked about my expectations.”

She paused and he could just picture the set stare she’d be sending not only Elijah, but all the boys in the room. The uncomfortable gap of silence told him he was right.

Levi had always appreciated how Lyndi treated her boys like adults. Their initiation into abandonment and having to fend for themselves before she found them meant they’d grown up a hell of a lot faster than most. She didn’t treat them like babies to be coddled or cushioned, like most humans did these days. Though she did protect them with the ferocity of the dragon she was, determined to give them a better life than they’d been served up until now. She was straight with them, the way she was with everyone else.

Just one of the many reasons her boys loved her.

“You younger dudes shouldn’t have to think about this yet. But…if you’re even thinking of getting physical with someone else…” she told them.

Curiosity had Levi levering up to his elbows and he smacked his head on the lower hanging disposal. Rubbing at the spot, he still listened intently.

“You come to me first. Uneducated and unprepared is what?”

A pregnant pause and a few twitters, likely the older boys. They stopped, no doubt shushed by a look from her.

“A good way to die,” Elijah mumbled, doubt rife in his voice.

Levi recognized Lyndi’s catchphrase with the boys about everything.

“What if you lose control and use your fire?”

Silence filled the room. He could picture Lyndi, surrounded by boys of varying ages, nodding sagely. “When you’re old enough, we’ll have a longer talk about this. Including why sex is not just about you.”

“Can’t wait,” Elijah grumbled. Then, in a helpful tone, “But you should definitely talk to Mike and the older boys now, though. This sounds important.”

His older brothers groaned.

“Awww, Lyndi-Loo-Hoo.” This from Mike. “We don’t need to talk about anything. We know what we’re doing.”

Lyndi snorted. “I seriously doubt that. Most women haven’t figured their bodies out, and most men, in my experience, don’t know their ass from their elbow when it comes to making a woman feel good.”

A low growl shot from Levi before he could yank it back. Loud enough that the conversation upstairs shut off abruptly.

Damn. But she’d better not be talking about him.

There’s more before that of course. You’ll have to read the book to get the entire scene. But what do you think? Did using a moment from real life work for creating the feel of family in The Protector?

Abigail Owen

Abigail Owen

Award-winning paranormal romance author Abigail Owen grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. She loves to write witty, feisty heroines, sexy heroes who deserve them, and a cast of lovable characters to surround them (and maybe get their own stories). She currently resides in Austin, Texas, with her own personal hero, her husband, and their two children, who are growing up way too fast.

9 thoughts on “Using Reality to Create Family in Fiction”

  1. Avatar Abigail Owen says:

    Thank you so much for having me on the blog today! Happy holidays everyone, and I hope you love The Protector!

  2. Avatar Rachel Flesher / Raonaid Luckwell says:

    Oh Goddess, yes!
    Other scenes can feel forced or fake.
    Yet when you take from real life, tweak places here or there, the vibe is firmly placed… If that makes sense

    1. Avatar Abigail Owen says:

      Exactly! For me, it’s almost like the emotion of that memory (the warmth, the laughter, the crying, etc.) goes right into the scene with the words. 🙂

  3. Avatar bn100 says:

    can sometimes work

  4. Avatar GB says:

    I chuckled through the brief excerpt. You were successful in creating the feel of family from your real life moment.

    1. Avatar Abigail Owen says:

      You should read the part before which is almost a direct conversation with my son when he was in 6th grade. LOL.

  5. Avatar E. R. says:

    If done successfully it works, depending on how the situation is written and construed within the story.

    I truly appreciate the snippet, Ms. Owens. Looking forward to reading the book in the future (definitely an addition to my TBR list).

    1. Avatar Abigail Owen says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you love the book!

  6. Avatar Sherry says:

    It sure did.

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